TalkTalk’s pledge to reward customers who remain loyal by offering them the same deals as newbies appears to have backfired after it was revealed that, as part of its new “simple pricing”, those on the basic package will end up paying more anyway.
The strategy of offering new customers better deals has long been a bugbear across many industry sectors. In fact TalkTalk quoted its own research which showed that, perhaps unsurprisingly, 84% of consumers believed they were often punished for their loyalty across a range of sectors.
TalkTalk said the move was designed to make it more transparent. Previously it offered a range of phone, Internet and TV packages at different prices – with cheaper offers for new customers – and charged £17.70 for monthly line rental. Someone buying basic broadband and a landline paid £25.20 a month, before any special offers/discounts were applied.
From next month, however, TalkTalk customers on that deal will pay £27.95 a month, and can only bring that down to £22.95 if they agree to sign up to the new 18-month tariff. It is estimated that half of TalkTalk’s customer base is on the basic package.
TalkTalk’s consumer managing director Tristia Harrison said: “TalkTalk entered the market as a challenger, and we’ve always saved customers money. But today’s changes are about more than that. We know this is an essential service that really matters to people, so it needs to be simple, affordable, reliable and fair. We’re proud to be the first to make the big changes customers expect and deserve of their telecoms provider today.”
Meanwhile a study by Kantar Worldmedia has described the company as a shadow of its former self. Kantar entertainment and telecoms expert Fiona Keenan said: “In a market that is becoming increasingly noisy TalkTalk seems to have lost its voice and consumers seem unwilling to listen. The momentum it generated following the data scandal recovery has gone and nearly a fifth of its customers still want to leave as soon as they can.”
And just last month it was accused of using heavy handed tactics – including calling in debt collectors – against an elderly woman who had been trying to close her account for six months.
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